jueves, 20 de noviembre de 2014

Gharnati Music & Andalusian Nawbah... from Al-Andalus to the countries of the Maghreb

Andalusian Concert in Granada (Spain)
The Andalusian Classical Music in Morocco
  Morocco is home to Andalusian classical music that is found throughout North Africa. It probably evolved under the Moors in Cordoba, and the Persian-born musician Ziryab is usually credited with its invention.

Ziryab invented the Nawbah, a suite which forms the basis of al-âla, the primary form of Andalusian classical music today, along with Gharnati and Malhoun.

There used to be twenty-four Nawbah linked to each hour of the day, but only four Nawbah have survived in their entirety, and seven in fragmentary form. An entire Nawbah can last six or seven hours and are divided into five parts called mizan, each with a corresponding rhythm. The rhythms occur in the following order in a complete Nawbah:

- basît (6/4)
- qaum wa nusf (8/4)
- darj (4/4)
- btâyhi (8/4)

- quddâm (3/4 or 6/8)

Each mizan begins with instrumental preludes called either tuashia, m'shaliya or bughya, followed by as many as twenty songs (sana'a) in the entire mizan.

Andalusian classical schools are spread across Morocco, having left Spain when Muslims and Jews were driven out of the country. Valencia's school is now in Fez, while Granada's is located in Tetouan and Chefchaouen. Cities like Tangier and Meknes have their own orchestras as well.

Jews in Morocco played an important role in the perpetuation of this oral tradition. In fact, the late Rabbi David Bouzaglo was known to have a conservatory of sorts in Casablanca where a number of Arab and Jewish musicians trained in al-Ala.

Andalusian classical music uses instruments including Oud (lute), Rabab (fiddle), Darbouka (goblet drums), taarija (tambourine), Qanoon (zither) and kamenjah (violin). Other instruments have included pianos, banjos and clarinets, though none of these instruments lasted for long.

Andalusian classical music orchestras are spread across the country, including the cities of Fez, Tetouan, Chaouen, Tangier, Meknes, Rabat and Casablanca.

Andalusian Nawbah

Andalusi nubah (أندلسي نوبة) is a genre found in the North African Maghrib states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya but, as the name indicates, of Spanish origin. The name replaced the older use of sawt and originates from the musician waiting behind a curtain to be told it was his turn or nawbah by the sattar or curtain man (Touma 1996, p. 68).

Lyrics are sung by the soloist or in unison by the chorus are chosen from the muwashshah or zajal poetic forms, being in classical and colloquial Arabic, respectively. (ibid, pp. 70-71).

Andalusi nubah uses one tab' (similar to maqam) per performance, and includes several instrumental pieces and predominantly vocal pieces accompanied by instrumentation. These differ as to mizan or rhythmic pattern (wazn) (ibid, p. 68).


Gharnati is found in both Morocco and Algeria, primarily popular in Rabat and Oujda in Morocco. It is arranged in nuba like al-âla; there are four unfinished nuba and twelve complete ones. Orchestras consist of kvîtra, mandolin, banjo, oud and kamenjah. The word "Gharnati" comes from the Andalusian city of Granada.

Gharnati refers to a variety of Moroccan music originating in Andalusia. Its name is related, being derived from the Arabic name of the Spanish city of Granada.

Concert in Granada of Dar Gharnatia, Andalusian music group from Tlemcen (Algeria)

Gharnati constitutes the musical mode most used in the Moroccan city of Oujda, where besides this musical kind is omnipresent and where one organizes each year in June the International Festival of the Gharnati music. This musical art was preserved mainly at Tlemcen in Algeria and Oujda, near the Algerian border.

1 comentarios :

  1. Those interested in Andalusian music might be interested in my new book on Ziryab, "The Language of the Heart". Ziryab was the court musician of the Emir of Al-Andalus in the ninth century. He led a fascinating, checkered life. The book is an historical fantasy - tracing the true history of Ziryab's life, it retells of an epic battle between an evil wizard who hates music, and how Ziryab defeats him with the power of music.